A new smart road stud from New Zealand-based Company Solar Bright can warn drivers of potentially icy roads and will soon be able to alert traffic management centres and maintenance depots of the treacherous conditions.
Once installed in the road the solar-powered studs monitor humidity and temperature and if the temperature drops to 0°C or below the blue LEDs in the stud start to flash to alert drivers of the possibility of ice formation. There are two versions of the stud – a direct replacement for the standard reflective stud and a snow-plough resistant version which is set into a core drilled hole.
The company is trialling a communications system that will send a signal to the traffic control centre when it is activated to inform the maintenance department about where gritters need to be deployed.
The snow-plough version will run for 700 hours on the battery pack while the standard version will run for 400 hours. From a full charge the solar energy will ensure the battery levels remain sufficiently charged as the system remains dormant for most of the year; the battery pack will last for five to seven years.
While the products are yet to be type-approved, on-road trials of the technology are underway in New Zealand and the system has been installed in car parks, airports and other off-road facilities around the world.
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